2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 3, 2003
Turkey refuses positioning of U.S. bases
WASHINGTON (AP) - Without Turkish bases to
open a northern front against Iraq, the U.S. military still
could take Baghdad, but with more difficulty and risk,
officials and analysts said yesterday.
The U.S. war plan calls for attacks on Iraq from two
directions, Kuwait in the south and Turkey in the north.
That approach would complicate Iraq's defense plan-
ning and ease U.S. logistical problems.
In a weekend move that surprised U.S. officials,
the Turkish Parliament rejected a motion that would
have granted a U.S. request to position tens of thou-
sands of ground forces for the assault into northern
Iraq and to station about 200 additional strike aircraft
at two other bases.
Defense officials, speaking yesterday on condition
of anonymity, said Gen. Tommy Franks, who would
command a U.S. war in Iraq, had not yet decided to
give up on Turkey. Franks said in an Associated Press
interview last week that his war plans are flexible and
take into account such problems.
If Turkish bases were not available to U.S. ground
forces, Franks could opt to airlift a force into northern
Iraq from Kuwait or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf.
Instead of having the Army's 4th Infantry Division - a
heavily-armored force - roll into northern Iraq from
Turkey, Franks might choose to use the 101st Airborne
Division, a lighter, air mobile force.
It was not clear whether that was Turkey's last word
on the matter. Reconsideration could come as early as
tomorrow, but the head of Turkey's ruling party said
yesterday there are no plans in the "foreseeable future"
to seek another parliamentary vote.
Still, a senior U.S. official said the administration
was evaluating the situation but did not regard the vote
as necessarily final.
Several senators were less sanguine on the yesterday
television talk shows.
"It's a huge setback for our purposes. It stunned me,"
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa.) ranking Democrat on
the Intelligence Committee, said on CNN's "Late Edi-
tion." "We spent the last 50 years defending them in
NATO. And along comes this opportunity, and by three
votes they decline the opportunity to allow us to come
in through the north."
Securing the peace once President Saddam Hus-
sein's government had fallen also would be more prob-
lematic without Turkey, depending on the extent of the
Turkish military's move into Kurdish areas of northern
Iraq, said analyst Anthony Cordesman at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies. And after the fight-
ing, Cordesman said, "We can work around it, but it
does increase risk" before, during and after the fight-
ing, Cordesman said. Likewise, the Kuwait option for
northern Iraq is not without risks.
NEWS IN BRIEF..:J
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates
UAE calls for Saddams resignation
The United Arab Emirates won support yesterday from several Persian Gulf
nations in its call for Saddam Hussein to quit power to avert a war, while Iraq
poured scorn on the Emirates, calling it a tool of Israel.
The king of Bahrain said he backs the call for Saddam to go, according to the
Emirates state news agency. Kuwait's Cabinet also backed the measure, the offi-
cial Kuwaiti news agency said.
Kuwait has allowed tens of thousands of U.S. troops to deploy in its territory
ahead of a possible invasion of neighboring Iraq. The tiny Gulf island of Bahrain
also is a key U.S. ally, hosting the base of the American 5th Fleet.
The Emirates' proposal - first made Saturday at an Arab summit - further
highlighted the deep divisions in the Arab world over how to deal with the Iraq
crisis and U.S. threats of war.
Arab leaders Saturday refused to discuss the proposal, which was the first open
call by an Arab nation for Saddam to go into exile.
The Emirates yesterday sought backing among its fellow Gulf nations, the most
receptive audience in the Arab world for the Iraqi leader's removal. Other Arab
nations, however, have rejected the idea of pressuring Saddam to quit, saying they
cannot interfere in Iraq's domestic affairs.
Nightclub fire death toll reaches 98
Church bells throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts pealed 98 times yes-
terday, once for each person killed in one of the country's worst nightclub fires.
The remembrance came as the death toll from the Feb. 20 inferno at The Station
nightclub in West Warwick rose by one.
Kelly Viera, who had been hospitalized with burns suffered in the blaze, died
Saturday at Shriners Hospital, hospital officials said. Viera's age and hometown
were not immediately released.
In Providence, Viera's uncle, William Kelly, drove to Grace Church, where he
and Viera worshipped. "I keep asking the Lord, 'why?"' said Kelly, 57, a retired
truck driver from Warwick. "She was such a sweetheart."
Viera was among several hundred people who had packed into The Station to
hear the heavy metal band Great White.
Fire investigators suspect sparks from a pyrotechnic display used by the band
ignited the nightclub's soundproofing material. That triggered a fire that swept
through the one-story wooden building in minutes as panicked concertgoers
tried to flee.
Turkish and U.S. soldiers stand guard
yesterday as a convoy waits to leave the
harbor of Iskenderun, Turkey.
"Our line of advance becomes more pre-
dictable" if the main ground assault is from
Kuwait rather than being split between Kuwait
and Turkey, Cordesman.said.
Israeli tanks enter Gaza, 7 killed in attack
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli tanks
moved into central Gaza early today, witnesses said,
killing seven people and destroying two houses.
Troops also arrested two members of the Islamic
Hamas militant group. The incursion into the Nus-
seirat and Bureij refugee camps followed pledges by
Israeli officials to crack down on militants from the
violent Hamas group. The Israeli military would say
only that an operation was in progress.
Israeli troops backed by tanks and attack helicop-
ters raided a Gaza Strip town early yesterday, killing
one Palestinian militant in fierce fighting and demol-
ishing abandoned buildings and the exterior wall of a
hospital, Palestinian officials and the army said.
Entering the town of Khan Younis in southern
Gaza before dawn, Israeli forces met fierce resist-
ance. Firefights erupted with gunmen who used a
school, a hospital and a mosque as cover when firing
on troops, the army said.
Gunamn Mahmoud Abed Hadi, 27, was killed in
the fighting, hospital official officials said. At least
35 Palestinians and two soldiers were wounded.
The latest military operation came hours after
Palestinian officials agreed to convene the Palestin-
ian Legislative Council next week and begin the
process of appointing a prime minister, one of the
reforms Israel and the United States demand as a
precursor to the renewal of peace talks.
The army has increased its operations in the Gaza
Strip since Feb. 15 when the Palestinian Islamic
group Hamas claimed responsibility for planting a
bomb on the path of an Israeli tank, which killed all
four soldiers inside. It has also been operating in
Khan Younis recently after a Palestinian gunman
killed an Israeli soldier on Feb. 23.
"During tonight's aggression the occupation army didn't show
any respect to our medical teams.'
- Haidar Kidera
Director, Nasser Hospital
Col. Pinchas Zoaretz, the commander of the opera-
tion, said the raid was to retaliate for the killing of
the soldier and to demolish buildings and structures
militants use to fire mortar bombs and Qassam mis-
siles at Israeli towns and settlements.
"We also want to continue putting pressure on the
terrorist organizations...to create a situation in which
we are on the offensive and they are on the defen-
sive," Zoaretz said.
Troops demolished an eight-story building that
gunmen had hidden in 14 times in the past four
months while firing on soldiers and several other
abandoned structures also used for cover by mili-
tants, the army said.
Palestinians planted bombs and fired anti-tank mis-
siles at the troops overnight, area residents said. The
operation has left 85 people homeless, officials said,
adding that at least five Palestinians have been arrested
so far. Soldiers demolished the outer wall of Mubarak
Hospital and raided Nasser Hospital, officials said.
"During tonight's aggression the occupation army
didn't show any respect to our medical teams and they
fired on ambulances and attacked the hospital too," Dr.
Haidar Kidera, the director of Nasser Hospital said.
Zoaretz denied his troops entered hospital grounds,
saying soldiers were forced to enter the courtyard of a
school - which is not far from one of the hospitals -
after militants detonated a bomb at an armored vehicle,
sending it flying into school grounds. Troops entered
the schoolyard to rescue the vehicle, he said.
"They are trying to create spin in the media that we
attacked a hospital but this never happened," he said.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Legislative Council is
scheduled to meet between March 8 and 12 to amend
Palestinian Authority law to create the position of
prime minister. It is also expected to determine the
responsibilities of the role.
"President Arafat has accepted the idea of nomi-
nating a prime minister," said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an
adviser to the Palestinian leader.
Israel and the Palestinians are arranging safe passage
for the members who due to travel restrictions have not
met face-to-face as a council in more than a year. Some
members have had to meet via teleconference.
Israel has said it will allow the meeting but will
prohibit members suspected in attacks against
Israelis from attending.
Even if the meeting occurs, deliberations are expect-
ed to take some time. Arafat- who is under increasing
international pressure to name a prime minister - may
also postpone the appointment, said a Palestinian
Authority official, who asked not to be identified.
Salam Fayad, the Palestinian's top finance leader,
released on Friday a lengthy report on Palestinian
finances and detailed $600 million in liquid assets ii
NASA accident board
questions top officials
NASA's administrator rejected a
formal request by the accident
board looking into the Columbia
disaster to reassign top agency offi-
cials from participating in the inves-
tigation, the first serious dispute
over the integrity of the probe since
the space shuttle's breakup killed,
Administrator Sean O'Keefe, prom-
ised instead that over the next several
days NASA will make changes so that
professionals outside shuttle manage-
ment lead cooperative efforts with the
O'Keefe said reassigning managers
would be eviewed as prejudging
whether they were culpable in Colum-,
bia's loss, and he wrote, "I will not'
submit anyone to this treatment."
The investigating board, led by
retired Adm. Harold Gehman, dis-
closed the correspondence on its
Families of Gulf War
veterans back action
Mothers and fathers, brothers and sis-
ters paid tribute yesterday to loved ones
killed in the first Persian Gulf War and
said they supported President Bush's
efforts to again send Americans against
"I'm behind our president 100 per-
cent," said Sally Minich of Hawthorn,
Pa., at a ceremony at Arlington National
Cemetery remembering the more than
400 men and women who died in the
Her 20-year-old son, Frank Walls, died
in an Iraqi Scud missile attack.
Joyce Wilbourn of Huntsville, Ala.,
said armed service families generally are
more supportive of a war in Iraq. She lost
her son, Marine Capt. James "Trey"
Wilbourn III, in February 1991. "My son
told me in a letter in 1991 ... 'Mom, we
either do it now or we do it later.' So 12
years later we're doing it,"'Wilbourn said.
RIO DE .JANEIRO, Brazil
Carnival parade met
with high security
Army tanks, 3,900 troops and 35,900
police officers patrolled Rio's streets
yesterday for the start of the city's glit-
tering Carnival parades.
Security was tight after four people
were killed and dozens of cars 'and
buses torched last week in violence
blamed on drug gangs.
But there have been few reports of
violence involving the revelers
One exception was an American
tourist shot in the leg yesterday in a
traffic dispute. He was not killed.
Brazilians were making last
touches on their sumptuous floats
and sewing the last sequins onto
skimpy bikinis as the first seven of
14 top samba "schools" prepared to
parade down the famous Sam-
badrome stadium last night.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports,
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ELK CITY, Okla. (AP) - Ronnie
Roles fought oil fires in Kuwait know-
ing unexploded cluster bombs lay hid-
den in the desert sand. The smoke was
so thick, noon turned to night. The fire
burned so hot, an ordinary hard hat
would have melted.
But for all the danger in Kuwait's
burning oil fields 12 years ago, Roles
fears the fires could be bigger, more
numerous and far more risky if a cor-
nered and desperate Saddam Hussein
turns the torch on Iraq's oil fields, as
his retreating troops did in Kuwait, to
disrupt the world's oil markets.
"We expect him to cause considerable
more damage;" said Roles, president of
operations for Cudd Pressure Control, an
Oklahoma company preparing for war
from an office on the American prairie.
The Department of Defense has
already asked the company for a plan
detailing the number of men and
equipment it could send to fight fires
in Iraq, Roles said.
Iraqis damaged or set fire to 788 oil
wells in Kuwait - nearly all of them -
in the closing days of the 1991 Gulf War.
Iraq is believed to have almost twice that
number, about 1,500, and some esti-
mates run as high as 2,500, Roles said.
The firefighters doubt all the wells
would be burned, but the fires could be
bigger in Iraq because there is more oil
to feed the flames: Kuwait's wells
pumped an average 20,000 to 40,000
barrels per day; some Iraqi wells are
capable of producing 60,000 to 80,000
barrels, said Bill Mahler, marketing
manager at Wild Well. Control.
Iraq's mountainous terrain and wet-
lands could make the oil far more diffi-
cult to control than the sand berms
used in Kuwait's desert, as well. Even
if the wells aren't set on fire, gushing
oil could threaten water supplies.
"After seeing the first mess they
made, there's no doubt in my mind
they've got the ability to make a big or
hiaar mec inthei nwnhae ,,rd
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